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KDE Plasma 5.6 Beta Release

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Plasma 5.6
KDE Plasma 5.6

Wednesday, 02 March 2016. Today KDE releases a beta update to its desktop software, Plasma 5.6.

This release of Plasma brings many improvements to the task manager, KRunner, activities, and Wayland support as well as a much more refined look and feel.


Slicker Plasma Theme

Breeze Color Scheme Support
Breeze Color Scheme Support

The default Plasma theme, Breeze, now follows the application color scheme allowing for a more personalized experience. A new 'Breeze Light' together with 'Breeze Dark' theme can be used to bring back the previous behavior. Additionally, tooltip animations have become more subtle.


Supercharged Task Manager

Copy Progress
Copy Progress

Multitasking has just become easier. The much improved task manager in Plasma 5.6 now displays progress of tasks, such as downloading or copying files.


Media Controls Media Controls
Media Controls in Panel and Tooltips

Moreover, hovering a music or video player shows beautiful album art and media controls, so you never have to leave the application you're currently working with. Our media controller applet that shows up during playback also received some updates, notably support for multiple players running simultaneously.

Not only did we improve interacting with running applications, starting applications gets in your way less, too. Using Jump Lists you can launch an application and jump, hence the name, to a specific task right away. This feature is also present in the application launchers.


Smoother Widgets

KRunner Folderview in Panel
KRunner's Smoother look and Folderview in Panel

There are many refinements to the overall visuals of Plasma in this release. KRunner gained support for drag and drop and lost separator lines to look smoother while icons on the desktop traded the solid label background for a chic drop shadow. Users that place a folder applet in their panel can enjoy improved drag and drop, support for the back button on a mouse as well as choosing between list and icon view. On the more technical side, many small fixes to hi-dpi scaling have found their way into this release.


Weather

Weather Widget
Weather Widget

Another feature returns from the old days, the weather widget.


On the road to Wayland

Wayland
Plasma using Wayland

With Plasma 5.5 for the first time we shipped a Wayland session for you to try out. While we still do not recommend using Wayland as a daily driver, we've made some significant advances:

  • Window decorations are now supported for Wayland clients giving you a beautiful and unified user experience
  • Input handling gained all features you've come to know and love from the X11 world, including 'Focus follows mouse', Alt + mouse button to move and resize windows, etc
  • Different keyboard layouts and layout switching

Tech Preview System Integration Themes

We are trialing a tech preview of Breeze themes for Plymouth and Grub, so Plasma can give you a complete system experience from the moment you turn your computer on.

Full Plasma 5.5.95 changelog

Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. You can find a list of Live Images with Plasma 5 on the KDE Community Wiki.

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.

Feedback

You can give us feedback and get updates on Facebook or Twitter or Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Supporting KDE

KDE is a Free Software community that exists and grows only because of the help of many volunteers that donate their time and effort. KDE is always looking for new volunteers and contributions, whether it is help with coding, bug fixing or reporting, writing documentation, translations, promotion, money, etc. All contributions are gratefully appreciated and eagerly accepted. Please read through the Supporting KDE page for further information or become a KDE e.V. supporting member through our Join the Game initiative.

About KDE

KDE is an international technology team that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing. Among KDE's products are a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX platforms, comprehensive office productivity and groupware suites and hundreds of software titles in many categories including Internet and web applications, multimedia, entertainment, educational, graphics and software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60 languages and is built with ease of use and modern accessibility principles in mind. KDE's full-featured applications run natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X.


Trademark Notices. KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.


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